According to Morales, the first woman to join the New York chapter of the Puerto Rican nationalist group, the honor speaks to the importance of giving voice to Latinos involved in the Black Power Movement.
“The Young Lords was one of the first [groups] to talk about AfroLatinos,” she told Latina. “We wrote about it and talked about racism in Puerto Rican and Latino communities. On all levels, we fought racism.”
Twenty years after the film’s original release, the activist believes it’s vital for Latinos to tell their own stories today as it was in 1996. “When we tell ourselves about activism and justice and freedom, we bring our humanity and our full selves into the pubic discourse, giving other generations a sense of integrity and knowledge and pride. It’s important for a people. We nurture by what we eat and think and whom we relate to,” she continued.
With a special place in NYPL’s Schomburg Center, Morales hopes to bring attention to Puerto Rico’s past and present colonial status while fostering black and Latino solidarity through expanding the general conversation on Afro-Latino history.